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Yes, every international student & scholar (including F-2 and J-2 dependents) who was here in 2020 is legally required to complete tax forms for each year they were enrolled in the U.S., even if they do not earn U.S.-sourced wages. This page is to help you understand your F1 or J1 visa holder tax reporting obligations. If tax filing or forms are not correctly filed, international students could be penalized, assessed fees, and/or have difficulties renewing visas or changing status.
A nonresident alien is an alien who has not passed the green card test or the “Substantial Presence Test”. This can be determined using the tax preparation service offered by IES if you had income. If you did NOT receive income, see Form 8843 in section below. Most Southeast international students and scholars are considered nonresident aliens for tax purposes.
The proper forms you need to file are determined by factors like how long you’ve been in the US and whether or not you earned wages. The Office of International Education and Services can help you in a few different ways. Please read below to determine what is the best for you.
Your only obligation is to complete the Federal 8843 form. Below are two different options to help you complete the 8843 form. Each option is fairly simple, just be sure to carefully read all the instructions.
Form 8843 is not an income tax return form. It is a document required by the U.S. government for F and J visa holders to declare their nonresident status. It is also called, ‘Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition’.
You are required to file the Form 8843 and a corresponding tax return. You should have a document from all your 2020 income sources that detail exactly how much income you earned, what type of income it was, and how much tax was withheld. The most common income reporting forms are the W-2 for employment wages, and the 1042-S for scholarship income. You cannot complete your tax return if you do not have documents for all your income. (Please note, Chartwells employment is different than SEMO employment, and each has their own W-2 forms. So if you worked for Chartwells and in a SEMO office, you should have two different W-2 forms.)
Also, please note that If you had no taxable income as a result of a tax treaty between the U.S. and your home country and were not eligible to receive a W-2, please follow the instructions above for those without U.S. sourced income.
After completing your 5th calendar year enrolled as an international student in the U.S., you are considered a "resident for tax purposes." Please note this distinction on pertains to taxes, and it is the only realm in which you are considered a "resident." If you are considered as a "resident for tax purposes" you are allowed to use online services like Turbo-Tax or in person servcies like H&R Block. For more information, click here. Also, "residents for tax purposes may be able to claim the 1098-T form on their return.
Click here to order a Sprintax license.
Click here for the Sprintax instruction guide for the 2020 tax year.
Since we could not have tax workshops this year, the following videos have been created to help you with your filing requirements.
Disclaimer:International Education and Services does not provide certified public accounting services. As a sponsor of F and J programs, IES informs current students and scholars of maintaining status and their civic responsibilities while in the USA, including taxes. For more information about taxation regulations in the USA, visit the Internal Revenue Services’ website at www.irs.gov and/or contact a certified public accountant knowledgeable of nonresident taxes.